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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Ahern family come from? What is the Irish Ahern family crest and coat of arms? When did the Ahern family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Ahern family history?

Many Irish surnames can be traced back to their Gaelic forms. The name Ahern originally appeared in Gaelic as O hEachthigheirn or O hEachthigheirna, made up of the words "each" meaning "steed," and "thighearna," meaning "lord." This was first Anglicized O'Hagherin, which was later changed to O'Aherne before the prefix was eventually dropped. [1]

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Many variations of the name Ahern were found in archives from the Middle Ages. The spelling and language in which the people's names were recorded was often up to the individual scribe. Variations of the name Ahern found include O'Aherne, O'Ahern, Hearne, O'Heffron, Haveran, Hayveren and many more.

First found in County Clare (Irish: An Clár) located on the west coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat as a Dalcassian sept from before the year 1000. However, with the disruptions of the Strongbow Invasion of 1172, they migrated southward to counties Cork and Waterford. In Waterford the name is predominantly Hearn and Hearne.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ahern research. Another 250 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1420, 1566, 1754, 1769, 1797, and 1806 are included under the topic Early Ahern History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 21 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ahern Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 18th and 19th centuries saw many Irish families immigrate to North America in search of land and opportunities. The largest influx of Irish immigrants to the United States and British North America came during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine laid waste to their homeland. Hundreds of thousands left the island in an attempt to escape the starvation and disease it brought. Although the arrival of such a large number of destitute Irish was not welcomed by the established population in the United States and what would become known as Canada at the time, these Irish were an essential element to the rapid development of these growing industrial nations. They filled the demand for the cheap labor needed for the work in factories and in the construction of bridges, roads, canals, and railways. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many immigrants bearing the name of Ahern or one of its variants:

Ahern Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Patrick Ahern, who landed in America in 1810
  • Timothy Ahern, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1841
  • Thomas Ahern, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1850
  • Daniel Ahern, aged 10, landed in New York in 1854
  • John Ahern, who landed in Arkansas in 1857


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  • Jerry Ahern (b. 1946), American science fiction and action novel author
  • Frederick Ahern (1907-1982), American filmmaker
  • Gene Ahern (1895-1960), American comic-strip artist
  • Brigadier-General Leo James Ahern (1886-1974), American Executive Officer, Office of the Inspector-General US Army (1940)
  • Cecelia Ahern (b. 1981), Irish novelist
  • Patrick Bartholomew "Bertie" Ahern (b. 1951), former Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland (1997-2008)
  • Dermot Ahern (b. 1955), former Irish Fianna Fáil politician
  • Michael Ahern AO (b. 1942), Australian National Party politician and former Premier of Queensland
  • David Anthony Ahern (1947-1988), Australian composer and music critic


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Per ardua surgo
Motto Translation: I rise through difficulties.

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  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

The Ahern Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ahern Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 May 2014 at 13:24.

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